Why do drivers hit bicyclists so often?

Bicyclists often suffer from a higher rate of severe injury than any other type of driver on the road. On top of that, bicyclists often seem to end up struck by the drivers of covered vehicles quite often.

Why exactly do drivers tend to hit bicyclists? Can anyone do anything to help drop this trend and improve the safety for cyclists all over the road?

Lack of protection for cyclists

The Seattle Times discusses some of the dangers of bicyclists and motorists sharing space on the road. First of all, bicycles are obviously much smaller than even the smallest of covered vehicles. This automatically puts cyclists at a disadvantage, as smaller things are often much harder to spot from within a vehicle.

Bicyclists also have much less cover than anyone driving a vehicle. They have nothing protecting them from the outside and wear very little protective gear outside of a helmet. Even an impact at a very slow speed could cause immense bodily damage, since a human will always lose in a battle of strength between a body and a car.

What drivers anticipate

Drivers tend to drive in a way that anticipates other vehicles, but not bicycles, too. This means a driver will keep an eye out for other oncoming cars, but may not stop to think about the possibility of a cyclist suddenly coming around the corner. This can lead to many of the crashes that occur when cars turn without looking carefully in both directions first.

Everyone can take steps to limit these tragic occurrences. Drivers can stand to pay more attention and drive more carefully in general. Cyclists can also help by wearing brightly colored safety vests and strong lights when biking at night.